How to force Microsoft Excel to open files in new window [How-To Guide]

Often times you may find yourself in a position where you are using two or more Excel spreadsheets at the same time. You can, of course, use Alt + Tab to continually switch between the spreadsheets, or use Microsoft’s build-in secondary window function (you know, how you can minimize spreadsheets within the same window) to place the spreadsheets side by side. However neither of these methods is very attractive if you use multiple monitors or if you like using window-resizer programs like WinSplit Revolution. Rather, a best practice when working with multiple Excel spreadsheets at a time is to open the spreadsheets in separate windows, allowing you to easily tile the windows next to each other using WinSplit Revolution or, if you use multiple monitors, allowing you to place each window in its own monitor.

Unfortunately, the default behavior of Microsoft Excel is to open spreadsheets in the same window. Fortunately, there is a way to force Excel to open spreadsheets in new windows. This guide shows you how to do exactly that.

How to force Microsoft Excel to open files in new window

To force Microsoft Excel to open files in new window, you must do a registry tweak. This tweak takes less than five minutes, works on any computer (Windows XP, Vista, Win7, etc.) with Microsoft Office 2003 and higher (e.g. Office 2007, 2010, etc.), and is very easy to do; plus I have provided screenshots to help you, so don’t be scared that you have to modify the registry to do this. Take note, however, a) You need administrator access to your computer otherwise you won’t be able to modify the registry and b) You should be very careful when you have the registry editor open — accidental changes could crash your computer.

This tweak works with all Excel files, including files you open yourself and files that programs open via Excel.

To make Excel open spreadsheets in new windows, do the following:

  • Close Excel, if it is open.
  • Press Win + R on your keyboard, type regedit.exe in the Run box that pops up, and hit OK:

  • Once you hit OK the registry editor will open. Navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/command folder:

  • From the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/command folder right-click on the (Default) registry entry and select Modify…:

  • Add a “%1” to the end of the Value data textbox:

Make sure you include the quotes and make sure you have a space between the /e and the “%1”. Do not modify anything else. Click OK when you have finished.

  • Now right-click the command registry entry (this is from the same HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/command folder), select Rename, and rename it to command2:

Ensure you rename the command registry entry and not the command folder.

  • Next right-click the ddeexec folder (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/ddeexec), select Rename, and rename it to ddeexec2:

  • Now go to the Excel.Sheet.8 folder (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.8) and repeat the same steps as mentioned above. In other words, add a “%1” to the (Default) registry entry from HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.8/shell/Open/command, rename the command registry entry to command2 from HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.8/shell/Open/command, and rename the ddeexec folder (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.8/shell/Open/ddeexec) to ddeexec2:

  • Close the registry editor (click the X button).
  • Done.

Keep in mind, if you ever update Microsoft Office or apply a patch, you will need to repeat these steps because updates override the registry changes you just made.


I really hope Microsoft adds an option within Excel in future versions to open files in new windows; but until they do, this registry tweak allows you to easily and quickly force Excel to open all files in new windows. Enjoy.

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    You’ll probably think I’m crazy, but is there an inverse to this solution? Excel 2016 forces each instance into its own window and I want to go backwards to the way Excel 2010 had it where a single window/instance could have multiple files open inside…
    I work with dual monitors and my ability to cycle through them is much smoother in a single instance and provides my style of use with much more window control.

  • Amy

    Did you ever figure out how to handle this? I deleted the command and the ddeexec like Ben suggested but I’m getting errors.

  • Dalibor Rodi?

    I signed up just to say thanks, this solution helped me a lot!

  • swissness

    Update to Excel 2016. It’s the only solution.

  • Lem Gooding

    Are you sure you are clicking on the > symbol beside the Shell folder, this will expand the folder and show you 7 sub-folders beneath it, one being the “Open folder” where you need to modify the registry?

  • Lem Gooding

    Thank you for the detailed steps, no issues incorporating the modification, and now I am able to open and run two previously saved files Simultaneously, without having to open a second excel file and pasting one of the two saved excel files into a blank worksheet as I have done in the past as a work around plan for using two independent spreadsheets.

  • kiquenet kiquenet

    Maybe useful scripting in BAT-CMD (reg ADD, etc) or using Powershell.

  • kiquenet kiquenet

    For me, I have not shell/open/command,


    “Content Type”=”application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet”


    “FileName”=”C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\VFS\Windows\ShellNew\excel12.xlsx”






    “xlsx”=”C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\Office15\EXCEL.EXE”
    “xls”=”C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\Office15\EXCEL.EXE”
    … OMITTED…




  • kelpiejethro

    Hello, All I’ve seen for solving this problem in google searches is registry hacks. There must be another permanent way of doing this because I have multiple computers that do NOT have this registry hack and double clicking spreadsheet files in explorer or as outlook attachments open them in all seperate windows. Someone out there must know this answer.

  • Denise Peck

    Looks like I may have done this at one point because I already have both command & command2 and ddeexec & ddeexec2 folders in both Excel.Sheet.12 and Excel.Sheet.8. On both of these the Default has /dde at the end instead of /e but I went ahead & added “%1” to the end after the /dde in both .12 & .8 – is it safe to remove the command & ddeexec (without the 2)? Or should I delete the existing command2 & ddeexec2 folders and rename the current command & ddeexec folders? I’m on Excel 2010 on a Windows 7 machine & really really getting tired of having to right click the icon & navigating to the file I want open in a separate secession of excel.

  • sanya flower

    Awesome. Thank you zillions!

  • igogolf

    Search your registry for “EXCELFiles>” you should find many duplicates of the “command” folder and the “ddeexec” folders buried in an “openWithList” folder . Copypasta from there.

  • Nowhere Man

    I deleted the entire “command” and “ddeexec” folders in the Excel.Sheet.12 and Excel.Sheet.8. Does anyone, please, please, please, know how to bring ’em back? Or does anyone has the complete name to redo/rewrite them again?

  • Rod French

    Thankyou! Latest windows 10 update must have done this to me – works better now!

  • Ally

    I noticed this stopped working after today’s update on Windows 7. Any advice?

  • Bushgirlsgonewild

    Excellent! Thanks!

  • kkelly

    This works as long as I’m not trying to open two files from Outlook. If I’m just opening files from my network source it works great just not via Outlook…bummed!

  • Md. Atiqul Islam

    Thank you very much. I faced the problem today morning and my excel files were opening on the same window and I was unable to work opening two windows side by side. After following the steps I found it works. But It is not working in my another pc running os Win XP and office 2007.

  • V.G.

    Thanks. Simple clear steps and it works. Less frustrations and much more efficient then the workarounds to get multiple excell windows.

  • Dave Davis

    Thank you so much. Works like a charm… So much better

  • Kalispell

    This worked exactly once. Then, the next time – 6 weeks later – I wanted to work in 2 Excel files in separate windows, it didn’t work. They both opened in the same window. The registry edits are still there, they just no longer work. Back to Square One. Not a permanent solution.

  • DerRudy

    (wrong email in previous comment)

    Desktop View

    Step 1
    Open your first instance of Excel, and then right-click the Excel icon on the Desktop taskbar.
    Step 2
    Hold down the “Alt” key and select “Excel 2013” from the pop-up menu.

  • DerRudy

    I saw this worked fine:
    Desktop View

    Step 1
    Open your first instance of Excel, and then right-click the Excel icon on the Desktop taskbar.
    Step 2
    Hold down the “Alt” key and select “Excel 2013” from the pop-up menu.

  • Engr Abbas Khan

    One the most easiest and efficient way to resolve the issue. Thanks man…

  • Mark E

    Thank You! Thanks for the great instructions and the easy to follow steps. Now, if Microsoft would only catch up.

  • M

    (Thank you!)^10

    Saved me hours of work and frustration. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your clear and simple instructions, such useful screenshots.

  • booberry

    [@Peter Rosenberg]

    I had the /dde ending and I wasn’t able to open files by double clicking them due to an error message about the filepath. This solved everything and it’s working beautifully now! Thank you Peter and Ashraf!


    [@VLOOKUP] Also I can not use “move or copy” function between spreadsheets…


    After doing this tweak, now I can have two spreadsheets in separate monitors but it became harder to use vlookup function as each spreadsheet works on its own…do you have solution to this as well?

  • thankyouuuu

    this should really be the base setting of excel… ms workers who thought forcing multiple data in 1 window was a good idea

  • asdf

    very nice. thank you!

  • James

    well done. awesome guide.

  • Theo

    Thanks Perfect Windows 7 64bit exel 2007
    Remember the space before “%1”

  • Frank

    DIsregard last, triple quotes works.

  • Frank

    [@Jeff] Jeff, did you ever find a way to do this? It did not work for me either. Excel 2010 with the /dde not /e

  • Jan Selvig

    I use Excel 2010. When I have an instance of Excel open, it shows up on the taskbar. Right-clicking that instance on the taskbar gives me 3 choices, and one choice is “Microsoft Excel 2010”. left-clicking that option opens a new empty instance of Excel, after which any workbook, including “recent” ones, can be opened in that new instance. The DDE setting mentioned in many proposed solutions doesn’t matter.

  • Adam Frank

    Thanks! worked like a charm…

  • Leif Leifnephew

    This fixed one of my pet peeves Excel, something I’ve been annoyed over for years!

  • Sara

    Thank you so much!! So helpful!!! This has been bugging me FOREVER!!

  • Haus

    This is not an option for me. I do not have “excel.sheet.12/shell/open/command” line in my Registry. I did find “excel.sheet.12” as values in other keys though.

  • Mike

    I love you man! Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together.

  • gisela

    This is a great post, is really useful for novice users like me. Also, a friend recommend to me ExcelFIX to Excel corruptions, so i want to share with you.

  • Joseph Drinan

    Excellent. Thank you.

  • Ben

    after having to repeatedly do this on 40 computers after office updates I wrote batch file to make the process quicker.

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\ddeexec /f

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command /v command /f

    reg add HKCR\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command /ve /t REG_SZ /d “\”C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE\” /dde \”%%1\” ” /f

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\ddeexec /f

    reg delete HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command /v command /f

    reg add HKCR\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open\command /ve /t REG_SZ /d “\”C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE\” /dde \”%%1\” ” /f

  • Krishna

    Thanks much. It adds meaning of having 2 monitors.

  • Derpette

    Very helpful. Thanks! Ü

  • Chris

    Thanks very much, this is very annoying and obviously a feature thought up by someone who doesn’t actually use the product. Seems like they’ve run out of ideas and now just creating features on a whim with no user research.

  • Javier

    Thank you so much, it works perfectly!!!!

  • Knight

    Great, you rock! Thanks!!!!

  • Galga

    Do not modify /dde to /e ! Just add “%1” 4 character at the end of the line with space.

  • Vinny

    You brilliant bastard!!! haha. thank you so much!!!!

  • Brian

    Excellent, That is a lot easier than opening another instance of Excel and then finding the file I want to open. Now if you had a way to import a .txt file with a right click/Open WIth…that would be cool.

  • joe

    Thanks totally worked. Alway annoyed me. Finally took the time to fix it.

  • Shlomo

    Would it be possible for you to tell me if you have a step by step on how to install CWM on a Galaxy 2 i9100? I’m not a tech. person, and I get stuck when I receive a window in which it states that my galaxy has no app with which to open CWM. Thanks in advance, SE

  • Mat

    Thanks for this clear tutorial for us plebians with sub 13 office

  • Mantas

    OMG at last sheets open in separate windows! Thank you so much!

  • Chris

    It works perfect for me, Windows 8.1 and office 2010. Great post, very detailed.Thanx

  • Jtas

    Please help! the fix is working like a charm indeed! but now whenever my outlook has to open or attach excel file, it comes to “Not responding” or just hangs or reboots itself…. any other tweaks that I can solve this problem? I saved time from the wonderful tweak and now losing time on outlook…:(
    thank you!

  • Jeff

    This fix did not work for me. I’m running Excel 2010 and the only difference that I can see is that my registry has the /dde instead of /e at the end.

    “C:\Program Files(X86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” /dde “%1”.

    I’ve tried changing the “/dde” to “/e”, but that didn’t work either. Is there anything else I can try?

  • Riccardo

    Solution works and now any double click opens a different Excel window (OK).
    Remaining problem: a VBA macro cannot see workbooks in other window.
    In other pc without this bug, the following code:
    For each tmp in Workbooks … Next

    will parse ANY excel window. In this case it seems that the VBA will see only the Excel where the macro is in.

  • Ankush

    Easy fix. Thank you.

  • Priya

    Thank you very much for posting this its very useful

  • BobD

    As the Australians say, “Good’o mate!” (I’ve been watching Blue Heelers.)

    My registry didn’t have the “command” entry in the folder HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/command/. I just skipped that step.

  • dan

    Works for me. My command registry entry ends with”…………\EXCEL.EXE” /dde” but i simply follow his steps add a “%1” and it works! SOOOOOOOOOOOO NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is fantastic! Thank you!

  • Johnson


    Can’t copy and paste from one instance to the other easily without creating potential problems or set formulas across spreadsheets.

  • sathish

    Thank you very much for posting this its very usefull to me ,i solved the issue with help for you post.keep posting like this by giving step by step process. its really good.

  • Eric

    Thank you for taking the time and posting this most helpful guide! I really appreciate the step by step process with all of the pictures for each step. Keep up the great work and have a great day!

  • Ayesha Powell

    Thank you SO much; you have saved my sanity!

  • Peter Rosenberg

    I want to add to your (and others feedback) that the “%1” suffix may not work if your registry entries (for Excel) point to a quoted filepath !
    Then you have to add triple quotes around the %1, in order to make it work.
    Omitting these under this condition, my Excel would truncate Excel filenames to first word delimited name, so I got a lot of ‘Cannot Open file’ errors.

  • John

    Doesn’t seem to always work when opening documents from Sharepoint 2003 with Office 2010. At least not when in the ‘All Documents’ view but it appears to be fine in the ‘Explorer’ view though. Opening local files seems to always work for me though.

  • Bobby

    Did work for me, now I can’t open any Excel document without opening excel and then opening the saved file. My command file looked different to the 1 in the picture it had – /dde at the not /e as shown in the instructions. Should I change this?

  • barbara white

    THANKY YOU SOOOO MUCH! ! just made my life a million times better!

  • zak

    Good. worked for me.

  • Kostas


    You need to do the same alterations in: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.CSV\shell\Open

  • Riccardo

    Solution works partially. I can see now different windows, only the first file opened can be modified, the other files remain Read Only.
    Each file (except the first opened) gives this message:
    CDEEFD0C.tmp is locked for editing Open Read Only ..

  • dengeorge6

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  • Eli

    The update yesterday broke this. I tried re-applying the fix, which worked for local files, but now it can’t open files from mapped network drives.

  • Alan

    good reason to use open office, instead of this kind of cra* happening

  • amacd86

    [@amacd86] Disregard the 2010 comment.. I am actually using 2013 and would like advice on 2013! Thanks!

  • amacd86

    Is there a way to do this same thing with Mircosoft Project 2013 on Windows 7? Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

  • amacd86

    Is there a way to do this same thing with Mircosoft Project 2010 on Windows 7? Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

  • lisa

    The registry edit worked like a charm for opening and creating new documents but sadly it was incompatible with the files I already had on my desktop and even when opening current files I use on a thumb drive. The only way I could figure out how to view/ edit my files was to go back and undo the registry edit. I would LOVE to use this split window method if anyone could give me a tip on the fix.
    Thanks in advance

  • lisa

    I just can’t even tell you how helpful this was!!
    The “dummy directions” pictures (I say that tongue in cheek) were very helpful.
    I have asked our IT group at both of my employers and neither could figure it out. I truly cannot thank you enough!!!

  • David

    Works like a charm. Thank you!

  • Cian Desmond

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Christopher

    Why not just run two instances of Excel? That’s what I always do and it works like a charm. I have one excel spreadsheet open, I go to my start menu and click on excel and a new blank one opens in another window. Then I close the blank one and find the spreadsheet that I actually want to open

  • Beau

    Thank you, your a legend. When is Microsoft going to get their act together!…

  • Stephanie

    THIS IS AMAZING. Thank you SO much! You just made my work 1000x easier.

  • Alberto Santaballa

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I came in this morning in a grumpy mood and opened two spreadsheets and then realized, again, that they were in the same window. Swore that was the last time no matter what it took. Hate that it has to be a registry edit, but such a relief to finally have them open as Word does. I owe you my firstborn.


  • Tigu


  • Ellen

    this is awesome, thank you so much!

  • Marnus-ZA

    Thanks, followed the instructions carefully and it worked!
    It was freakin irritating that excel opens all windows in one window, like how do they think must multi-screen users use excel?

    Marnus-South Africa

  • johnarnulf

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  • Ken

    Thanks for the tips. It works perfectly.

  • Michelle Cearley

    Awesome!! you may want to highlight the space part before the “%1” for dummies like me. :)

  • Mng0Tng0

    HI there….Were you ever able to work this one out….? (-applying this ‘open in new window’ fix when opening downloadable/shared Excel files via link or browser)…Thanks!


  • Benjamin


    Thanks for this. It worked for about 4 months, but then excel started opening *.xlsx files in the same window again. I note that now the registry editor has created new files “command” and my file “command2” still sits there. Similarly, it has created a new folder called “ddeexec” under excel sheet 8, yet my folder “ddeexec2” still remains. Can I just delete new ones it has created?

  • gil

    Try placing your cursor over the start button (bottom left) and right click. Select “Properties” and make sure the Taskbar tab is selected. To the right of “Taskbar buttons:”, click on the drop down and select “Never combine” then click ok. There’s no need to change the registry if you try this. Hopefully this is what you’re looking for.

  • gil

    Try placing your cursor over the start button (bottom left) and right click. Select “Properties” and make sure the Taskbar tab is selected. To the right of “Taskbar buttons:”, click on the drop down and select “Never combine” then click ok. There’s no need to change the registry if you try this. Hopefully this is what you’re looking for.

  • Amanda

    This worked perfectly, however 1 issue. After making these changes in Excel 2013, I could no longer open Excel 2003-2007 worksheets

  • Wanos

    Thanks dude! I’ve tweaked the registry before, but after rebooting, the issue would come back. This one actually stays permanent even after a reboot. I’m using MS Office Pro Plus 2010 32-bit, on Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit.

    If you guys are crashing/etc. make sure you guys are doing this right.

    FYI: I exported these reg keys so that next time I can just delete whatever’s there and just import the reg keys.

  • David Shepherd

    Worked perfectly, thanks so much!

  • ramona vonniederhausern

    You’re wonderful. Thank you so much!!! You’ve saves me so much needless time.


  • Andrew

    This did not work. It crashed my excel every time I opened it

  • Erik Erdell

    Your instructions were very well done. This was easy to follow.

    Unfortunately, it simply didn’t work.

  • Sheryl

    This worked great until 4/3/14 when it suddenly stopped. Did Microsoft or Windows do an update?

  • Aaron Majors

    Didn’t work. No errors, just didn’t work. Is there a conflict with Display Fusion?

  • A. Perelini

    YAY! It worked! Ahhhh… you have NO IDEA how better my life is now that I can do this. LOL! THANK YOU!!!

  • Dimond

    Just wanted to say thank you. I work in excel using double monitors all of the time. This work around is great!

  • DanitaIT

    Awesome!!!! Works Great!

  • tinadawn

    I have office2010/ winpro7. THis worked, however it will not open the document all the way, It opens to excel gray screen then I have to click open recent. HELP

  • Nathaniel

    Worked like a charm, thanks!

  • Albert

    Perfect, it does work. Just tested on Office 2010 and it did the trick Thanks!

  • DanielleY

    Did not work for me for Excel 2010

  • Mark

    This seems to work if you open a file from the file system (desktop, shared folder, etc.). It doesn’t seem to work when opening a file from an internet location… such as your intranet! Anyone know how to make it work for that? Half of the files I open are from the intranet!

  • michael

    worked fine for me. thanks a lot!

  • Kurt

    Thanks – works perfect!!!!!!

  • John Ball

    Working just as you described in your post. I added the registry modifications to our Group Poicy computer preferences and pushed this to the entire domain. All is working great.

  • Adrian Walker

    It worked as advertised. Thanks a lot!

  • avalon1959

    I did this and it worked to open up files in new windows, however now all my files open up as a new numbered XI0000000… files and not the original saved file. wtf? how do I fix this? It’s a real problem!

  • RussM

    [@RussM] Also, I was unable to do all the steps I did, and it works like it used to now.

  • RussM

    I tried this, but when I went to open a spread sheet it, if it had spaces in the file name it would try and open each word as a different document, i.e. “One on One Checklist” It would try to open Z:\One.xls, Z:\on.xls, Z:\One.xls, Z:\Checklist.xls. I also tried one with a single word name and ones that were on my C drive, I largely work with items on the network. I use Win 7 64 bit, Office 2007. Any help would be appreciated.

  • BryOnRye

    Thanks. This has been bugging me for years.

  • Dustin


    This is what worked for me to solve Amy’s problem:

    1. Delete the new “command” that appeared but not the “command2” that you created previously.

    2. Modify the (Default) entry and add the “%1” at the end.

    3. Delete the new “ddeexec” folder that appeared but not the “ddeexec2” created previously.

    Excel files once again open in their own windows. I don’t know what causes this (perhaps a windows update) or if it will happen again. But the above steps worked for me for now, follow at your own risk.

  • Jonathan

    I got this formula to work for everything except my Macro Enabled Templates. Those still insist on opening into a workbook that is already up. Know how to solve this?

  • Sean

    I used your trick, and it worked great. But I can’t function without the ability to copy sheets to other workbooks. So I am trying to set things back to normal. I did all the steps in reverse order….but now I can’t click on an Excel file in a folder. It launches Excel, but then I get an error “There was a problem sending the command to the program.” How do I get back to the way things were? Thanks for your help.

  • MikeXL

    This is all very well, but imposes limitations on functionality.
    For example, cannot copy sheets from one instance to a workbook in another instance. Or use format painting across instances.

    What I would like to see is an adhoc ability to open a workbook in a new instance. Would be great if a setting could be included in shortcut properties so that particular workbook always opens in its own session while others are open in multi-session.

    In particular for example, I have a VBA project that’s a complete running application and therefore means that other workbooks open in the same instance cannot be accessed

    For me, the most flexible way for now is to open a new instance and drag the workbook onto it.

  • S.H.

    It works – but for excel 2012 (and I assume also for excel 2010) there exist some new filetypes for which you have to repeat the above steps.

    I did this for Excel.SheetBinaryMacroEnabled.12
    and Excel.SheetMacroEnabled.12

  • Ike


    This registry edit didnt work for me on excel 2010

  • J.R.

    @Amy Lelliott:

    I experienced the same problem. I tried deleting the old “ddeexec2” file, but that did not work. Where you able to find a solution?

  • Amy Lelliott

    I did this and it worked fine for a while, but after about a month it reverted back to opening multiple files in the same window.

    i tried to do the process again but because i already have ‘ddeexec2’ files from the previous changes, i don’t know what to do when trying to change the settings again.

    applying the changes to the command registry entry but not changing the ‘ddeexec2’ does not work?

    any help please?

  • Ethan

    update…having a 2nd excel open with the new settings does open the 2nd xls in the 2nd excel…but i’d like to be able to open xls and have it open a 2nd instance of excel without having me to do it manually

  • Ethan


    Same for me! win 7 pro 64 bit (heard 64 bit office is different)…i also had /dde and not /e Tried adding “%1” to the end of /dde and tried changing to /e…neither worked when trying to open excel files from outlook…they open in the same window. Also, if i open 1 excel, the xls opens in that one…i opened a 2nd excel, made that active, tried opening the xls and it opened in the first excel which was not active….any ideas?

  • Ethan

    link is dead

  • Thanos

    Thanks a lot mate, was looking for something like this.
    I am using Excel 2010 and works like a charm.

  • Dennis

    It worked for me on Win7 and Office 2010. Thanks for this tip!

  • Brian

    I performed the steps exactly as mentioned and it made no difference for me, I am using Excel 2010 on Vista. Opening Excel files from links or clicking on files continues to open them in any currently open window of Excel :-(

    If is useful i noticed in my registry the end of the string to append “%1” to has a different ending than yours: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\EXCEL.EXE” /dde “%1”

  • Jon

    Sorry it is such a hack to run through, though. Tell me, how did you figure this out?

    What is the “%1” for and why do you have to rename the file names?


  • Jamie

    Brilliant, works like an absolute charm, much appreciation!

  • jayjay

    Nicely done!

  • rbrbrbrb

    1) If you don’t have it make a shortcut for Excel on the taskbar (drag desktop shortcut to the taskbar)
    2) Open Excel
    3) Right click on the Excel icon on the taskbar
    4) Select Microsoft Excel from the menu

    You can open as many instances of Excel as you want


  • Jevgen

    thanks, that helped!

  • p_falcon

    Thanks! The solution worked like a charm :)

  • Raj

    Thaks for the post. I am using XP pro+Office 2007 and the command file is missing in my HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/command folder so couldnt use your solution. I used part of your solution and did some tweaks to open Excel in new window every time. It woked. Please find my solutions below:
    Go to Tools-> select File Types tab -> select XLS file type-> click Advanced ->select Open-> Click Edit
    Add “%1” to the end in Application Used to perform Action: text filed (leave a space after /e) so that it looks like “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12EXCEL.EXE” /e “%1”
    Remove the DDE message [open(“%1”)] (keep it blank)
    Keep the Use DDE check box Ticked.
    Click OK
    Do the same for file type XLSX also.

    If the above didn’t work for you, try this 2nd option

    Go to start-> Take run (or press Win + R together)
    Type regedit.exe
    Click OK
    Go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/command
    Right click on Default->Select Modify
    Add “%1” to the end of value data text field. If %1 is already there just add “ ” around it
    click Ok
    Do the same for Excel.Sheet.8
    Close Registry Editor
    Then in window Go to
    Tools menu->File Types tab-> select XLS file type -> click Advanced ->select Open-> Click Edit
    Application Used to perform Action: text field will look like
    “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12EXCEL.EXE” /e “%1” (don’t change anything here)
    Remove the DDE message [open(“%1”)] (keep it blank)
    Keep the Use DDE check box Ticked.
    Click OK
    Do the same for XLSX also.
    This should work :)

  • Microsoft fixed it (works for Windows 7 & Excel/Office 2007):

  • joseph

    Thanks for this post, i will try that.

  • Tizwoz

    For goodness sake, WHY is everyone struggling with this when Thomas C. Sherman’s Excel Launcher just WORKS, every time, year in, year out (in XP/Excel 2003 anyway)! No messing about with the Registry, it’s tiny, and it’s as easy as falling off a log.

    Get it here:
    and here:

    It seems only one person (see No. 14 above) has got wise to this after I posted in No. 12 above, so Ashraf – PLEASE check it out and wise everyone up. I haven’t tested it, but it’s so simple that I bet it works with Excel 2007/10 in Win7/Win8 too (for those foolish enough to have Win8), but I’m prepared to stand corrected.

  • Amy

    Hi – I did this yesterday and it worked just great, but today it’s no longer working. Is this something that just works for one session and you’d have to reset the registry each time you want it to work, or did I miss something?

  • LCH

    Thanks so much, my Excel used to open files in new windows by default, but stopped doing so yesterday after I made a new worksheet for some reason. Silly how such a little thing can be so frustrating, but your guide worked like a charm. :D

  • al

    Doesn’t work with Office 2011 and Win-XP-Pro, fails to find files.

  • Ashraf

    @Cody Macurdy: Huh? What are you talking about? I listed the exact same steps you posted in the article above :-P

  • Cody Macurdy

    Just follow these steps and there is no need to replace the icon (at least in Windows 7):

    Start -> type “run” into the “Search Programs and files” and hit Enter -> type regedit and hit Enter:

    Left column: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.8/shell/Open/commend:

    Right column {adding (space)”%1?}: (be sure to include the quotation marks when typing)

    Double Click on (Default) and write – “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE” /e “%1?

    Right Click on Command – choose “rename” and add something to the name – for example 2 (commend2).

    Left column: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.8/shell/Open/ddeexec:

    Right Click on the folder ddeexec and choose “rename” and add something to the name – for example 2 (ddeexec2)

    Left column HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/shell/Open/commend:

    Right column {adding (space)”%1?}

    Double Click on (Default) and write – “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE” /e “%1?

    Right Click on Command – choose “rename” and add something to the name – for example 2 (commend2).

    no restart needed. You can do this for .CSV files as well. Have Fun, and please share this answer with others. If the icon is not listed, you can right-click and go to Properties on any file that you wish to open with Excel, click the Change… button under the Opens With section, Browse…, look under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Excel.exe (or under C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Excel.exe) and double click the EXCEL.exe; You may have to check the box under the Opens With section that states “Always use this file type…”

  • Ashraf

    @Everyone: You are very welcome!
    @Adnan: Thank you for catching that. Fixed now.

  • Adnan

    On your last picture you have mentioned “1%” instead of “%1” which gives the error message of 1.xls could not be found.

    Also I didn’t have a command string on Sheet.12 so I have manually added a multi string and copied pasted the same value as in the Sheet.8 and gave it a command2 name. It seems to be working fine now.

  • Cf

    It worked brilliantly. Thank you.

  • Victor

    You’ve no idea how much you just helped me. Thank you very much!

  • matthew

    Thank you so much! :)

  • Blair T

    You have just saved me a ton of time. Up till now I had to port data into a Word table then back to Excel , just so I could modify a tracking table while I worked on invoices.

    Thank you

  • Linas

    It worked for me with /dde.

  • Dilip Louis

    I take a lot of pleasure in finding solutions to annoying little problems, and without great souls like you, me and others of my ilk will be very sad all the time.

    Here, have a virtual rose.

  • Paul

    You have no idea how long I have needed this fix. Thank you so much for posting this, it works perfectly. Seems like basic functionality in a dual-monitor world. Not sure why this isn’t included natively with Excel.

  • Jannine


    Just tried Tim’s method and now the attachments open in a separate window, thanks so much!!

  • Jannine

    Hey thanks so much, this had also been bugging me…however I open many spreadsheets to compare via email attachments, opening multiple attachments even over different messages still causes them all to open in the same Excel window. Can anyone advise of a “tweak” for this?

    Thanks In Advance

  • Tizwoz

    I am re-posting what I posted in No.12 above (as Celia – I since changed my Log-in) because, for some reason, only one person (see No.14 above) has picked up on this more simple solution: Excel Launcher. It works for .xls and .csv on WinXP, and although I have not tested on Win7 or Win8, it is so simple that I cannot imagine it would not work – perhaps someone will test on those two OS’s and post here with result?

    This is what I wrote before:

    Or you could use Excel Launcher – I’ve been using it for years & it works so well. It’s tiny & you just have to set Excel file types to always “Open With” it after you have first run it & pointed it to Excel.exe & you’re done! Get it here:
    That’s v.1.1, but I’m still using v.1.0 (get that here because, for some reason I can’t remember, I preferred it to v.1.1; but it’s a great little FREEBIE program – so big thanks to Thomas C. Sherman!

  • Tim

    Much easier option within excel

    round office button > excel options > advanced > under ‘general’ settings > tick “ignore other applications that use DDE”

    Not sure file types it works with, but works with everything I use


    Thanks also from me BUT, Now after i done that in office 2007 i cant copy paste lets say a graph from one excel file to another and still work , cause it misses the conections, when i also use a formula and i want to add in it a cell from a totaly diferent excel file it doesnt work . it says that the file needs to be open ..

  • This works fine for Excel files, but doesn’t seem to work for CSV files (which also open in Excel for me). Is there a fix that applies to CSV files, too? Thanks

  • Wizzzard

    I like to say thumbs op for this great tut for making work Excel like the way it should!!


  • Control Man

    at first it didn’t work, but then I realized I typed in “$1” instead of “%1”. Now it works.


  • mr. hands

    Worked without requiring restart, thanks! This automatic grouping “feature” was driving me crazy.

  • Cornan


    My company uses a very large excel sheet for asset tracking and trying to work with it and other lists in the single window was driving me absolutely mad. I’d stumbled across the trick that Roc describes here in the comments but it’s honestly a pain in the butt and I vastly prefer not having to mess with it. Thank you again for posting this!

  • Roc

    @Roc: Should have said repeat 2 through 4 as often as needed.

  • Roc

    This works in 2010 without any reg changes
    1. Open the 1st workbook as you would normally.
    2. Move focus away from the workbook by clicking on some other window.
    3 Click Start:Program:Excel. This opens a new window and blank workbook.
    4 Keep focus on the new workbook and open the 2nd workbook into the new window.
    5. Repeat 3 and 4 as often as you need.

  • Awesome, thanks for that! I shall share…

  • Sean


  • Daivd Coe

    @Aaron: My changes works with /dde in the command line, so it should make no difference. Just rememebr the other registry lines must be renamed “command” to “command2” and “ddeexec” to “ddeexec2” or it will not work. You have to edit both Excel.Sheet.8 and Excel.Sheet.12 the same way. I have Win7-32bit, Office Pro Plus 2010.

  • Aaron

    This initial tip by Ashraf worked wonders on my computer at home, however, at work I don’t have admin rights so I called IT and surprisingly they went onto my computer and adjusted the registry the way it needed to be. It didn’t work. I have an idea why but I was hoping someone could either confirm or offer a better reason….

    When you modify the ‘default’ registry to add the “%1” the end of the chain prior to it was a /dde, not /e like it was on my comp at home. Does this make a difference and will it work if I get it changed to /e? Can anyone offer any advice?


  • Non


    This solution is also documented on MS’s Support section.

    Guess MS Office engineers just refused to fix a problem caused by themselves, so instead, issued this “fix” forcing the general public (who’s not computer savvy) to do the fix for themselves!

    Typical Microsoft >:(

  • Peter

    Great job! works for me perfectly W7, excell2010

  • Paul

    This did not work for me. Once implemented it would not allow me to open Excel files at all. Did it 100% the way shown too. Had to convert everything back. Sad…

  • emirikol

    Oh Thank YOU!!!!!

    I’ve been looking for this!!! And it works great!!

  • Rockvil

    Thank you for the easy to follow instructions! This worked great. Saving me so much time.

  • Karasi

    You did an excellent job with this. Thank you for making it so understandable. The photos are great. It worked perfectly! You’ve saved me a lot of time and frustration!

  • Justin

    Thank you for this!! I became so conditioned to manually reopen excel every day for multiple excel windows. This fix is perfect. I don’t get why they decided Word docs should open in new windows, but Excel docs should not. Anways, thanks again!!

  • Peggy

    I am pretty computer illiterate but your steps made it so easy a 5-year-old could do it. Thank you so much, this speeds up my work flow immensely! Hopefully Microsoft will catch on eventually :)

  • Katrina

    Thanks for your help! Do you think it works the same with PowerPoint?

  • Gabster

    It works beautifully! THANK YOU.

  • KC

    I really like this easy tutorial with pictures and it worked as described. However, I ran into my first problem only a few minutes later when I wanted to copy a worksheet from one file to another and now since they are separate Excel windows, I can’t have two open files and copy a worksheet tab between them. Any other tricks to solve this problem?

  • Chakri

    The following would work for Win7 64 bit,(right click excel and open in new instance submenu)
    Open a notepad and paste the following and save it as:- Excel OpenInNewInstance.reg
    and right click merge…. you are done.. right click your excels and open in new instance

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    @=”Open In NewInstance”

    @=”\”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Microsoft Office\\Office14\\EXCEL.EXE\” \”%1\””

    @=”Open In NewInstance”

    @=”\”C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Microsoft Office\\Office14\\EXCEL.EXE\” \”%1\””

  • Celia

    No need to keep looking – see Comments 12 & 14 above!

  • Gil

    This process didn’t work on my computer. The command line is slightly different than what’s shown in the examples. I even rebooted to see if that would apply the registry update – nothing. Oh well – I’ll keep looking!

  • This is a really great post, thank you! I’m not terribly fond of Excel’s built-in window management tools, and it’s a bit annoying to always be starting up another instance of Excel just to force spreadsheets into separate windows. I was searching for something else, completely unrelated, but I’m definitely bookmarking this and going to try it out for myself. Cheers!

  • simsan

    HI Ashraf,
    I tried the way you showed me to tweak and open excel. Something happened: I can now click on excel sheets already saved (made up), BUT these files DO NOT OPEN. A blank Excel page opens that lets me go to the main menu: file –> direct it to my saved .xls files, and yes it does open then, but not directly as i used to earlier.
    What wrong did i did or what happened here? Thnx —sim

  • william neurauter


    I just installed the Excel Launcher. It works great! Thanks for the find.

  • GeorgeIbiza

    Hi Ashraf, This tip from Chris reminds me of opening multiple links in separate tabs…… your ‘ask a dotTechie’ article some days ago.
    I tried it in both instances and it worked great…thanks Chris!

  • Celia

    Or you could use Excel Launcher – I’ve been using it for years & it works so well. It’s tiny & you just have to set Excel file types to always “Open With” it after you have first run it & pointed it to Excel.exe & you’re done! Get it here:
    That’s v.1.1, but I’m still using v.1.0 (get that here because, for some reason I can’t remember, I preferred it to v.1.1; but it’s a great little FREEBIE program – so big thanks to Thomas C. Sherman!

  • Peter Dm

    I have tried this on XP SP3 machine and although there is no HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT/Excel.Sheet.12/ entry (only Excel.Sheet.8), I carried out the modification as far as possible. It still works OK.
    I also tried on Vista machine, which does NOT have the command entry to rename to command2, all other modifications to registry carried out. This also works OK. One extra point however, is that it does not work if the second file is opened from within the first. Thank you for a tip that solves an anoying problem for me.

  • william neurauter

    I am still using Office pro 2000 version, so extendoffice will not work for me.
    this could be why some of the entries are missing from the registry, etc.

  • william neurauter

    @Chris, I tried the middle wheel step & excel shows as 2 in the tab bar, but excel still shows as only onw program window.

  • william neurauter

    I just went & started the process of making the modifications.
    for excel.sheet.12 their is no ‘command’ registry entry below the Default registry entry.
    Like wise there is no ddeexec folder under ‘Open’
    for excel.sheet.8 the ‘command’ registry entry is also missing; however there is a ddeexec folder.

    My ops is XP pro SP3.
    Any thoughts?

  • SteveB

    @giancarlo: I downloaded and tried Office Tab, very interesting. The concept is great and is probably ok for most of the word processing that I do; however, there are times when I would like to have multiple windows open for Word and the freeware version of this software d provide the capability one must purchase full version. Not sure I’m that interested in the product.

  • Arun

    I used easy way of righ click on open with excel option to open addtional files and it opens in new excel window

  • Ashraf

    @giancarlo: That seems like an interesting software but it has a completely different use case than the registry tweak I mention in this article.

  • giancarlo

    Best of all (at least in my opinion) is to use a small software named office tab that enables tabbed browsing, editing, and managing of Microsoft Office documents (word, excel, powerpoint). Download the free edition from:

  • Ashraf

    @Haakon Aas: You are welcome!

    @Chris: Interesting. I didn’t know that. That is a good method for those that don’t want to do the registry tweak. Thanks!

  • Chris

    Or just click with the middle or wheel button on the Excel icon and a new copy of Excel will open and then you can just open your document like normal or drag it on to the new Excel window.

  • Haakon Aas

    THANKS!!!! JUst yesterday did I fight Excel to have several files open at the same time :-)